Freedom fries notwithstanding, Americans love to imitate the French. From drinking coffee, to enjoying wine midday, to using the word “summer” as a verb, our countrymen persistently embrace and emulate the Gallic lifestyle. Now, globally minded drinkers are applying this impulse to the most American pastime possible: downing cheap beer.
At pizza and natural wine bar Ops in Brooklyn, co-owner Marie Tribouilloy blends French and American drinking traditions with a Budweiser and Amaro cocktail.
“In France, while our culture has never been very mixed-drink oriented, there is a drink called Picon-biere,” Tribouilloy tells me in an email. The ultra-simple concoction is a mix of a cheap light beer and Picon, a bitter French aperitif created in the 1830s.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
“It’s a French classic, mostly associated with 1940s and ’50s blue-collar workers,” Tribouilloy says. “It’s been a simple way to make questionable beer flavorful while raising the alcohol level, making the drink more efficient.”
What American doesn’t want more efficiency? Especially if it makes notoriously tasteless macro beers more palatable?
Picon isn’t available in the States, but its taste is similar to an Italian Amaro. Budweiser’s light profile makes it an open and able substitute for a cheap, light French beer. So go ahead, crack open a Bud, grab the Amaro, and do like the French (and the regulars at Ops) do. Make yourself a Budweiser Amaro.
How To Make Your Own
Pour one ounce of amaro into a pint or highball glass. Then fill the rest of the glass with cheap beer. (VinePair has you covered on the best light beers to choose from.)
Alternatively, you can do it the quick and dirty way and make your drink right in the can. Simply crack it open, take a couple swigs, and top it off with Amaro. FIN.